Worthington, Windom officers honored for DWI arrests totals
WORTHINGTON -- Josh McCuen of Worthington and Louis Norell of Windom were recently named to the Minnesota's DWI Enforcer All-Stars for being leaders in their numbers of 2012 DWI arrests.
McCuen has been with the Worthington Police Department since 2006. He said he was surprised to receive the All-Star recognition from the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety.
"You don't know how many (DWI arrests) other people have," McCuen explained. "The criteria -- it's not just total arrests. They go by population, size of the department, and they take that all into consideration."
McCuen totalled 52 DWI arrests in 2012. So how did he get so many?
"I work nights," he said with a laugh. "I'm always on at night. It's just traffic enforcement, and you come across them at night and especially the weekends.
"I've been a police officer for just over seven years now, but once you start to do it for a while, you can tell when you are following someone who has been drinking," McCuen added. "You can't necessarily tell how impaired they are, but you can tell by little things they do and by their driving conduct that they have probably been drinking -- that's just from seeing it time and time again."
There are different types of DWI stops than one may ordinarily imagine, McCuen said.
"Very rarely is your impaired driver driving 50 miles per hour down Oxford," he said. "That's not the kind of stuff you're looking for. I mean, I still stop people for stuff like that -- that's still speeding -- but that's not generally how impaired drivers drive."
Worthington Police Chief Mike Cumiskey said McCuen is the second Worthington police officer to receive the DWI Enforcer All-Star award. Officer Darin Vossen was recognized for his DWI arrests in 2010.
"I think it's fantastic," Cumiskey said. "It's an acknowledgement of the hard work that he does in DWI enforcement in the city of Worthington. For every one that he actually arrests, it means that he's made several traffic stops for other things -- whether a traffic violation or equipment violation. Not every stop you make is an arrest for DWI."
Cumiskey also praised McCuen's efforts with the Towards Zero Deaths grant program, which he has coordinated for the past three years.
"That is a big responsibility, and each year he has increased the number of participants and the number of counties involved," he said. "Josh does a fantastic job. He stepped into that role and has been leading it."
Norell, who joined the Windom Police Department about two years ago, attributed his high number of DWI arrests to being in the right place at the right time. He admitted he wasn't expecting to be a part of the All-Star team.
"Especially considering that we're a small department -- it's not like we make an incredible amount of arrests compared to the Twin Cities," he said. "It was a surprise and an honor to be a part of that."
Norell was quick to point out that he isn't the only member of the Windom Police Department that is making a difference in reducing the number of DWIs and DWI-related accidents.
"We're all working the best we can up here to do our job, and everyone does their part, and it just so happened that I had the most last year," Norell said. "We're all working hard. I'm not leading this year. It just happened to be that way (in 2012)."
To Windom Police Chief Scott Peterson's knowledge, this is the first time that a member of the department has received the award.
"We think it is quite an honor that he was selected to the DWI Enforcer All-Stars team, and he led our team last year in DWI arrests," Peterson said.
The DWI Enforcer All-Stars were invited to a Twins baseball game, where they were each given a bat with their name on it, in recognition of their efforts.
"They let you go down to the field and announced your name and let you stand there for a while and be embarrassed for a while and then give you a bat," McCuen said.
The 2012 DWI Enforcement All-Stars includes 34 officers and prosecutors from the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota. Officers are selected for outstanding service in enforcement and in prosecution of impaired driving.
The is the sixth year that the Office of Traffic Safety has recognized the state's top DWI enforcers. For Norell, DWI enforcements is one of the few ways that officers can be proactive about taking crime off the streets.
"With most crimes, there has to be a victim, but in the case of DWIs, we've hopefully intervened before a dangerous driver has harmed the community," he said.